The First Clustered Spire: Where did they begin?

Amanda Clements

A Step Above The Rest

Have you ever noticed there are no tall buildings in Frederick? Sure, we have impressive structures around town, but they are more of the ‘short kings’ of buildings than skyscrapers. That was intentional. A long-standing ordinance in the city of Frederick states that except for special circumstances, no building may exceed 60 feet.

So, why limit building sizes in a town with such booming business? Have you looked at downtown from afar and seen the pointy steeples poking out from the treetops? Well, that’s why! Downtown Frederick’s clustered spires setting along The Catoctin Mountains not only gives our town its iconic skyline but is a visual representation of the history our town holds.

Who was the first?

The story starts over 200 years ago with Trinity Chapel on Church Street. It was the first steeple to go up in downtown and housed the town clock, the best way for Fredericktonians downtown to keep time. Designed by famous Frederick architect Stephen Stiner (check out the Steiner House  downtown), the Trinity chapel steeple still stands tall and proud, but is thankfully no longer alone. Since then, 6 more steeples have been erected to create the tapestry above our heads that has welcomed visitors for, well…. centuries now! These symbols of our city are just one of the few things keeping history at our core and aren’t they just pretty?!


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